Sixth and seventh placed Hyde United and Marine, respectively, kick off their Easter weekend a day earlier than the other promotion chasing sides, when the Tigers welcome Morpeth Town to the Project Solar Stadium at Ewan Fields. And Marine are on the road as they travel to Marske United, hopeful that there will be no more pitch issues at the Pleasure Ground that have blighted Marske’s time in the Pitching In Northern Premier League to date.
Will the early kick off give the sides involved a psychological advantage over the sides still to play? Or will it give clarity to those playing catch up the following day? It’s certainly one to watch, just to see how things pan out!
Saturday sees Matlock Town, South Shields and Warrington Town all at home, against Atherton Collieries, Nantwich Town & Ashton United. Two of those three facing sides that are fighting for their lives, in and around the drop zone. At Clayborne, Liversedge welcome play off chasing Radcliffe, the two sides enjoying contrasting emotions in stoppage time in midweek. ‘Sedge snatching a point against one of the form sides Lancaster City in injury time, while Radcliffe conceded twice in added time, chasing the game, at home to Warrington Town! Radcliffe’s goal difference taking a minus three hit, at a time when goal difference could become crucial.
The Neil Reynolds’ derby is the other game of note away from Trinity involvement. Bamber Bridge make the short trip to Broadhurst Park to take on FC United of Manchester. Jamie Milligan’s men have continued to sneak under the radar with a number of consistent performances – and find themselves six points off the top with twelve points to play for.
Going into the weekend, Trinity sit in fifth position, with a better goal difference, but locked on points with sixth-placed Hyde United. Neal Bishop’s Gainsborough Trinity continue to have their play-off destiny in their own hands. Heading to one of the form teams in the shape of Lancaster City. The Holy Blues go to the Giant Axe targeting all three points, but approach with caution. The Dolly Blues already having beaten the Holy Blues home and away this season. Mark Fell’s men inflicting the first defeat of Neal Bishop’s rein, when they emerged two-nil victors at the Northolme, at the back end of August.
The two sides met again at the end of October, in the FA Trophy. Trinity, without Liam Waldock and Clayton Donaldson that day, lost 2-3 at the Giant Axe. On the scoresheet for Gainsborough that afternoon were Andrew Wright & Joseph West. But, goals from evergreen David Norris, Nic Evangelinos & Christian Sloan saw the Dolly Blues progress.
Tenth placed Lancaster come into this Easter Saturday match up in almost untouchable home form. Six wins and two draws from the last eight games, mean that the Holy Blues will need to be on top form to return to Lincolnshire with a maximum points haul in the bag. A strong, well-drilled unit, Lancaster have had eighteen different scorers this season. Evangelinos leading the way for the Dolly Blues. Sam Bailey has eight in all competitions, and is City’s main penalty taker – here’s hoping there are no opportunities for the full back to show his prowess from twelve yards on Saturday!
Mobilise the troops, and travel in numbers to back the Blues, because together, we are keeping the dream alive. There’s no need to hide, no need to run, because all the answers will come one by one… The hopes we had, may have seemed too high, way out of reach, but we have to try, the game will never be over – because we are keeping the dream alive.
Blue Army! Blue Army!
Good Friday Games (all 3pm kick offs)
Hyde United vs Morpeth Town
Marske United vs Marine
Warrington Rylands vs Belper Town
FC United of Manchester vs Bamber Bridge
Guiseley vs Stalybridge Celtic
Liversedge vs Radcliffe
Matlock Town vs Atherton Collieries
South Shields vs Nantwich Town
Stafford Rangers vs Whitby Town
Warrington Town vs Ashton United
Preview written by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)
Photo credit: Darren Murphy - NPL Photographer